Arthur Cox is one of Ireland’s largest and oldest law firms. Founded more than 100 years ago in Dublin, where it is still based, the firm now employs 530 legal professionals across its headquarters and offices in Belfast, London, New York and San Francisco.
Focusses / specialisms
The firm is one of Ireland’s ‘blue-blood’ law firms, with a legacy of representing the state, with which it still works regularly. The firm has a large and group of technically proficient, business-orientated transactional lawyers for all areas of legal work covered by the rankings.
In banking the firm is strong in lending, debt restructuring and regulatory work and often mandated by banks.
The firm is adept in all areas of securities work, but especially good in structuring bonds, derivatives and securitisations.
The funds practice acts for Irish domiciled funds and some of the high profile American asset managers on re-domiciliation and the establishment of AIFs, UCITs, ETFs and sub funds.
Within the corporate practice, M&A is a stand-out area. Publicly listed companies and private equity firms and funds regularly instruct the firm on high-value cross border deals.
In the projects area the firm is especially experienced in advising on the development and financing of large-scale energy infrastructure but has also done notable work supporting transport and public services developments using the PPP model.
The firm’s restructuring team is experienced in working for liquidators, receivers and examiners on deals for both domestic and multinational entities.
Sectors where the firm has expertise and is particularly prominent include banking, energy, pharmaceuticals and technology.
Some of the recent key clients of the firm include Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, BNP Paribas, Flutter Entertainment, Applegreen, Russian Railways, Bank of Ireland, Allergan, Blackstone, Merced Capital and Avadel Pharmaceuticals.
Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)
During the research period in asset finance the firm mainly advised borrowers on advised on aircraft portfolio acquisition financing, with some deals having complex asset-backed securities (ABS) elements.
In banking the firm acted for a mix of bank and alternative lenders and borrowers in acquisition financing, project financing and real estate financing, including of a mortgage-to-rent platform. It also advised on sustainability-linked loans. In regulatory, all recent advisory work was confidential.
In capital markets the firm advised on green bond issuances, high yield bonds and debt refinancing and Irish finance vehicle-issued Russian loan participation notes for Russian banks and large project companies. Other notable deals include advising large domestic and international companies on share buy-backs and, in structured finance, assisting financial institutions with collateralised loan obligations, a company’s establishment of a gold-linked ETC securities programme and non-bank lenders' residential mortgage securitisations.
In M&A, partners advised on both the buy and sell-side in takeovers and represented large insurance brokers and entertainment companies in multi-jurisdictional all-share mergers.
In investment funds, the firm advised on ESG fund offerings, the establishment of ICAV structures for money market funds, the conversion of ETFs as a result of Brexit and a UCITS merger of non-Irish funds.
In projects work the firm advised on public private partnerships in the transport, education and telecommunications sectors. It also advised on complex wind farm projects and related financings, acting for senior lenders, sponsors and borrowing project companies.
In restructuring and insolvency work the firm saw mandates advising distressed companies, examiners, shareholders, insolvency officers and creditors. Notable transactions include the Irish examinership and Chapter 11 proceedings of Weatherford International Plc and the cross-border restructuring of Waypoint Helicopter Leasing.
Staffing changes saw Rob Murphy, co-head of aviation, and Laura Cunningham, an aviation partner, join the firm in the research period, formerly from CDB Aviation and Milbank respectfully.
Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)
AbbVie $63 billion acquisition of Allergan
Ballantyne Reinsurance restructuring
Brookfield Business Partners $13.2 billion acquisition of Johnson Controls International Power Solutions business
Electricity Supply Board €1.4 billion sustainability-linked loan
Henderson Park $1.34 billion acquisition of Green REIT
Ireland Sovereign €2 billion green bond issue
N7/N11 Arklow Rathnew PPP refinancing
Schools Bundle 4 PPP refinancing
Waypoint Helicopter Leasing debt restructuring
Weatherford International restructuring
Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)
“The firm is very thorough in explaining the practical implications of some complex legal language and structures. Also, the teams dedication to work around the clock, during weekends, and through holidays was very impressive.”
“Professional, responsive, experience and knowledge.”
“Small team, good communication and response times.”
“Highly reactive, very supportive of the customer, highly skilled and experienced.”
“Very responsive, very flexible when dealing in different time zones and provided clear legal advice.”
“Proactive and excellent documentation management.”
“The Arthur Cox team were extremely responsive and had an impressive understanding of what was happening on the transaction. Laura and Laura were very professional and illustrated a fantastic attention to detail.”
“The principal attorney working on the matter is very knowledgeable, a very good draftsperson and effective negotiator, all while being very commercial. She knew when to press for a point and when to recommend accepting a point.”
“The whole team from partners to associates to junior lawyers are all very helpful and provide timely response and advice. Their excellent work in the DAE transaction also demonstrates their ability to deal with large transactions in an efficient and organised manner. They are also very proactive.”
“Great positive attitude and no problem cannot be overcome.”
“Worked 24/7 to complete a very quick transaction.”
“Excellent competence in asset finance, tax and structuring capacities.”
“It has a deep knowledge of the sectors we work in plus excellent technical, legal (Irish law) and negotiation skills. They have a very full service and can bring in the necessary skills as and when. They can really go further than providing "just" the local counsel advice.”
“As the partners at Arthur Cox previously represented parties in aircraft ABS deals as main transaction counsel, it was a seamless experience.”
“Depth of experience of the Irish corporate and finance market. Efficient and experienced team of lawyers.”
“Very efficient, well-resourced and good competencies.”
“AC handled both Irish and NY law-governed agreements, including purchase and financing agreements. AC was attentive and responsive, and reliably managed the transaction.”
“Comprehensive and considered representation for client.”
“Leading firm that is able to provide best-in-class advice on the most complex transactions in the market. The advice is detailed, practical and commercial (and the team are a pleasure to work with).”
Capital markets: Debt
“Experts in the field. Great responsiveness.”
“They are very efficient and organised, knew the process well and I found them extremely responsive and helpful when any issues came up.”
Capital markets: Equity
“Timely, highly competent legal advice.”
“The Firm has high caliber staff across all teams. They are excellent at furnishing commercially oriented legal advice and executing transactions swiftly and in budget. They provide excellent VFM.”
“Arthur Cox provides commercial and solution-focused advice. They understand our business and are readily available to provide advice in a timely manner.”
Capital markets: Structured finance and securitization
“Responsiveness is very strong - important on a fast-moving transaction.”
“Very commercial, pragmatic, full service, easy to get on with and get things done.”
“They are dedicated and resilient, ensuring focus is maintained at critical points in the deal negotiation and onboarding life cycle. They are attuned to the commercial realities but understand our mandatory requirements.”
“Attended to the Irish law elements, of which there were many, quickly, efficiently and accurately.”
“As a team they work quickly, clearly well managed efficiently and accurately.”
Financial services regulatory
“Professional and efficient.”
“Keen ability to work with our business and provide reasonable and workable legal advice. Good working relationship with the regulator.”
“Positive: Accessibility & responsiveness. Negative: n/a.”
“Commercial. Client focussed. Knowledgeable. Solution orientated and good at problem solving.”
“Top financial services firm in Ireland.”
“The firm are very responsive and provide clear, competent and prompt advice. All of the team members are proactive and hard working.”
“The team is knowledgeable, a great counselor, and highly efficient.”
“Honest, quick to respond, knowledgeable.”
“They are just great – friendly, diligent, constructive, timely, responsive. If I could think of many more positive adjectives, I would put them here also. Have worked with many law firms across Europe and AC in Ireland would be the top.”
“Responsive, high quality, depth of market knowledge.”
“Commercial and solution focused advice, very responsive.”
“Arthur Cox has high caliber, commercially oriented lawyers who complete complex transactions efficiently and within budget via collaboration from functional experts. They are best in class!”
“A large team to support all aspects of a transaction with experts in all fields. The quality of advice is excellent, pragmatic and timely.”
Restructuring and insolvency
“Highly experienced; strength in depth; innovative and very 'user friendly'.”
“Strong technical capability aligned with a positive commercial overlay. Strong strength in breadth and depth. Willing to work with you as a client and other stakeholders to get the most appropriate answer in the situation.”
“Very responsive and provides clear and concise advise. Good at advising the pros and cons of various courses of action. Very commercial.”
“Very personable and excellent attention to detail.”
“Brendan is very focused, responsive, he always displays great dedication to his work and doesn't rest until a matter is resolved.”
“Responsive, direct and solutions-oriented.”
“Knowledgeable in her area; extremely responsive and great communication skills.”
“Responsive and knowledgeable of tax issue which is very helpful in transactions.”
“Caroline will always find a solution to a problem and once Caroline is involved you are confident that the deal will proceed. There is great comfort in knowing that Caroline manages all of the complicated legal issues.”
“Creative and excellent in structuring.”
“Professionalism and very helpful.”
“Charlotte has an excellent depth of knowledge in relation to all aspects of the finance documents on any kind of deal. She is very responsive and provides excellent advice.”
“Timely, highly competent legal advice and great client communication skills.”
“Conor is very commercial, solution focused and sees the big picture. He is very responsive and easy to communicate with. He demonstrates a clear understanding of and interest in our business. I consider him a key partner and a trusted advisor for important decisions.”
“Personable, knowledgeable, timely responses, experienced and excellent engagement for information provision.”
“Dara is a very capable lawyer, knows the market very well and is able to find innovative solutions.”
“Dara is highly knowledgeable and a trusted advisor.”
“Impressive, wide market knowledge, innovative and solutions oriented with excellent problem-solving skills. Glenn is very responsive to client requirements; it feels like they are part of my business not an outsourced commoditised provider.”
“A fantastic lawyer that is able to understand and advice on very complex matter. One of the most accomplished lawyers in the sector.”
“John is very commercial and is good at offering strategic advice in respect of complex legal situations.”
“John is extremely responsive and always delivers high quality, commercial advice. He is my "go-to" corporate lawyer in Ireland.”
“Excellent technical and practical financial services attorney.”
“Very strong communication skills. She is was very good explaining complex and sometimes esoteric concepts in simple terms. Her dedication and commitment to meeting deadlines and completing the transaction was exceptional.”
“Availability, leverage of previous experience and responsiveness.”
“Great communication, attentive and responsive.”
“Availability, reactivity, quick and preciseness.”
“Excellent client relationship management, knowledge of the subject and problem-solving skills.”
“Laura was very responsive and helpful. She illustrated very impressive legal knowledge and her communications were always clear and thorough. The transaction on which she assisted was completed within a very short time frame and this was largely owing to the responsiveness and assistance of Laura's team.”
“Ms. Cunningham is very knowledgeable about all aspects of aircraft leasing and finance law, is a very good draftsperson and an effective negotiator. She is also very commercial, knowing when to press an open point and when to recommend accepting it.”
“Very responsive, client friendly, pragmatic, deal maker, bright, flexible and good at finding solutions.”
“Laura understands more than just the Irish law aspect of our transactions.”
“Joined AC after having worked at two major international law firms which specialize in asset finance. Has a great deal of experience in working in this market, beyond just the Irish counsel role, which can be helpful.”
“Very efficient and effective.”
“Knowledgeable, responsive, responsible and very hard working.”
“Relationship management and protecting client's interests.”
“Very positive engagement and anxious to support the client.”
“Maura identifies the key issue at hand and provides targeted and clear advice. Maura is commercial and responsive and a pleasure to interact with. We consider her a key partner and trusted advisor.”
“Maura is the best commercial lawyer I have worked with in my career. She is pragmatic, commercial, solution oriented, responsive and a pleasure to work with. She thrives under pressure, deals exceptionally well with international VC partners. She is an exceptional advisor.”
“He was brilliant, approachable, hardworking, commercially focused, great negotiator and responsive.”
“Practical, solutions oriented and easy to get on with.”
“Legal expertise, responsiveness, market knowledge and understanding.”
“Vast experience in our industry, strong legal knowledge and an innovative problem solver.”
“Extremely knowledgeable, diligent, commercial and innovative.”
“Willie is hugely experienced and has the ability to condense complex legal matters in a manner that is commercially understandable. He is very strong, commercially focused and can deal with large, complex situations. Willie works with you as a client to get the most appropriate answer in the situation.”